View From The Glen

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance Day 2012: I Remember Still

Some years are warmer than others and many years have bone-chillingly horrendous. Sometimes the November sky is steel grey and frigid and other years, the sun has shone down warmly. I've heard the moment of silence interrupted by crying babies, laughing children, birdsong, beeping watches, foghorns and train whistles


Having participated in Remembrance Day ceremonies from coast to coast for well over twenty years now, there is one thing however that always seems to be true. Perhaps I imagine it, but at some point in the ceremony there is a moment of unorchestrated beauty that eclipses everything.

Possibly it is because in that silence, in the lament of the pipes or in the bugle's mournful call, there is time to pay attention. But it's there, that moment.

In the cold high street of Saint John, New Brunswick, my bare knuckles frozen to my black wool naval greatcoat and my toes numb from the frost and from standing at attention for so long with the navy, I saw a white flock of birds rise into a shaft of light as the last notes were played. I've seen the sky brighten, the snow start to fall, the clouds clear, the wind sweep a golden shower of leaves into the air. This year, at the college, on a dreary day, the St. Lawrence River turned silver suddenly from a sunbeam that broke through just after the silence ended. Little things all, but they raise my spirits and make me think that in some small way, there is a collective awareness and appreciation from somewhere of this continuous act of remembrance.


I've written stories from our family's personal histories and a shared memories, and posted my own thoughts and comments on past parades. For the last few years, the torch of remembrance has been passed to my children who participate with the Scouts. Those who feel this generation does not remember would be proud to see our kids aged 5-13 out in uniform, laying wreaths and honouring the day.

I was going to give you a poem that Grace wrote yesterday about Remembrance Day. She wants to enter it in a competition, so I can't post it in its entirety, but the way she ended was with this:

Poppies grew
And I remember...
       I remember...
       I remember....
Poppies grew on Flanders Field
And I remember still.


Erik and his fellow Scout, Brianna, laying the wreath on behalf of 1st Lancaster Beavers, Cubs and Scouts and the congregation of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
March Past


Grace, Erik and Anna, Remembrance Day 2012

1 comment:

Irene Sheffar said...

Love this. I know exactly what you mean about the feelings that come about on this special day, as I grow older they certainly get more special and I always feel as if uncle Joe (killed in Dunkirk aged 19) is standing by my side it is such an eerie feeling as I also know that he is my guardian angel